CABELL COUNTY — Most of us are familiar with saying a blessing
before we eat, however, West Virginia’s Department of Agriculture wants
to get the word out to farmers and meat processing centers that there’s
an untapped market of Muslims who need help before dinner is even
West Virginia’s Muslim population continues to increase and along with
that a need for meats blessed under the guidance of the Islamic faith.
“The closest city over here for us it would be Cincinnati or Columbus
and some people go as far as Detroit for this kind of service,” says
Dr. Majed Khader.
A huge expense to muslim families who must eat Halal meat, or meat that’s blessed prior to processing.
“When you start to slaughter the animal you have to say in the name of
god,” Khader adds. “This meat costs them twice as much since they have
to get it from out of state.
Right now Rolfe’s Meat Processing center in Ona in Cabell County is one
of the few places that offers this service in the state.
“When the ritual slaughter is performed we have to incorporate them in
the process and allow them to bless the meat before its slaughtered,”
explains Rolfe’s Meat Processing Owner Jeremy King.
Besides the ritual just before the animal is slaughtered, the butcher
must use sharp knives and minimize the amount of pain the animal goes
through. After that the meat is processed just the same as it is for
any other customer.
Due to the shortage of processing centers and famers taking part in
this process the Department of Agriculture beleives there is a market
to tap into. Ag officials really hope that West Virginia farmers will
jump on the bandwagon here not only to help the state out but to also
help the farmers bottom line.
“It’s like when you cut the middleman out of anything you know what
happens…whole lot more profit,” explains farmer Stacy Call.
Call runs farms in Cabell and Mason counties and is active in providing
sheep and goats to the Muslim community. By supplying local families
with animals he also increases his own profit since he’s not having to
ship them out of state.
“When we send them up there it’s 12 to 13 dollars a head for trucking
and getting them sold. So If we can bypass that, we’d have 50 or 60 of
them, that’s 700 to 800 dollars,” says Call.
Majed Khader says its also a savings for families here who won’t have to pay so much extra to import food for their family.
“This is really an advantage to the community having someone who
understands the process of processing the meat according to the islamic
laws,” he said.
Jeremy King also says it not only increases his customer base…but may
help our state grow as far as attractive place for other cultures to